Sunday, September 14, 2014

How to Make Your Own Coconut Butter!



Hi all! I hope you all are enjoying your weekend. :) I was thinking of making a few posts on how to make some important ingredients that I use in some of my recipes. One of these ingredients is coconut butter, which is a little bit different than coconut oil.

Coconut oil is a product that is the extracted fat from older coconuts. This is a clear fat (at or above 75⁰F (23.8⁰C)) and is solid at temperatures below 75⁰F (23.8⁰C). This is pure fat from the coconut.

Coconut butter is a mix of the fiber and fat from the coconut and is thus a whole food product and has more nutrients than coconut oil. It is basically just dried 'meat' from old coconuts that have been ground into a butter-like consistency. It will turn solid at temperatures below 75 F but it can be gently warmed up to return back to a spreadable consistency.

Both of these products are so versatile to use in cooking, but I really enjoy using coconut butter instead because it is a whole food product and isn't just straight oil, like coconut oil. It also is a great replacement for some of the butter in baking recipes, as a butter substitute on toast, and is awesome added to a soup or stew at the end of cooking, to add that fattiness factor.

Fat helps the flavors of recipe to coat the tongue and come together to create a burst of flavor, and that's why I usually like to add just a little bit of fat in recipes to make the recipe taste its best. It's like a flavor enhancer and is surprisingly (at least to me it was a surprise :P) not considered one of the 6 tastes (if you include umami as one of the tastes).

Here goes the recipe!

Coconut Butter

Yield: ~3/4 cup
Prep Time: ~15 minutes
Servings: ~12, 1 tablespoon servings (~14 grams)

Ingredients:
166 grams coconut flakes (2 cups)

Instructions:
Place the coconut flakes in a food processor and let the processing begin! Just let it keep processing for about 10 - 12 minutes, stopping the food processor at about the 3 and 7 minute marks to wipe down the sides of the processor (or as needed). The texture should be creamy and look like a whiter version of tahini. Store and enjoy!

1.) This is when the flakes first went into the processor. They're getting ready to be whirled around!
2.) This is at about the 3 minute mark. The flakes are starting to breakdown.
3.) This is at the 7 minute mark. The mixture is starting to get creamy and runny! Almost there!
4.) We finally made it! This is at about the 12 minute mark. It's the perfect texture and ready to be used! Yay! :D

Tips:
  • Make sure the coconut flakes are at room temperature and are not used straight from the freezer (if you store your coconut flakes in the freezer). Being at room temperature helps the coconut flakes to release their oils much quicker than if they were frozen, making the coconut butter making process much faster. :)
  • Depending on how big your food processor is, you can double (or maybe even triple!) this recipe. Mine is an 11 cup Cuisinart food processor, so the recipe could have definitely been doubled for it. But if you have a 7 cup food processor, start at the amount the recipe says and then increase if you can. 
  • Coconut butter will sometimes separate (the fibrous content from the liquid fat), so just give it a good stir and it will be good to go! 
  • Coconut butter turn solid? No problem! To warm up coconut butter to a more spreadable consistency, just place the coconut butter in a tall glass container/cup and place that cup in another wider cup that is filled with hot water and gently stir (so as not to get the water in the coconut butter) until the butter gets to the consistency you prefer. Enjoy!
  • The coconut butter is not going to be completely smooth and will still have a slight grit to it, but it will still be super creamy and yummy tasting!
Here is the nutritional information for coconut butter from CRON-O-Meter. 

If you all think it is helpful to have some 'How to' posts, please let me know! I'm thinking of doing an almond milk, coconut milk, and kelp noodle paste 'How to' as well, since I know I promised the kelp noodle paste and the almond milk recipe a while ago. I'm so sorry about that! I do keep a mental note about it though! If there are any other 'How to' posts you would like, I would love to hear them! 

Thank you all so much for stopping by. I really appreciate it. :) I hope you all enjoy the recipe as well. Take care and wishing you awesomeness and happiness! :)

Love,
Rawnessa <3

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peppery Ginger Cookies


Hi all! I'm so sorry I have been absent for so long. I hope everyone is enjoying the onset of fall. I know I am, even though it is still reaching the 100's here in Arizona. But it is not as often as it does in summer, so I am happy about that! And plus fall brings us fall flavors such as cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin, and so much more! Although, to be honest, I wouldn't mind eating these flavors all year long. :)

Those fall flavors bring us to these Peppery Ginger Cookies! I've been experimenting a lot with making ginger cookies and these little gems just hit the spot. I was originally inspired to make these cookies from David Lebovitz's Nonfat Gingersnaps, which I was trying to veganize. But as I kept playing around with different ratios and formulas for the perfect cookie, I went back and looked at the recipe to reanalyze it again; then I saw the egg whites and it all made sense. No wonder my cookies weren't looking like his and just were not the right texture. So, I gave in and added a little oil to the recipe.

And poof!

They came out amazing. Perfect texture. Chewy and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Lately I haven't been adding oil to my recipes, but since these were a treat for some friends of ours who were moving to Hawaii, I figured they would appreciate a little fat in them. I know my boyfriend sure appreciated the fat and kept decreasing the amount of cookies he wanted to give to his friend because he was eating them up! :P

I will definitely try to make a veganized David Lebovitz's version again but by substituting agar flakes for the egg whites. I read somewhere that agar mixed with water can be whipped into an eggwhite-like consistency after it sets in the refrigerator. Vegan and fat free cookies? I'm totally down to try! If anyone has tried this, please let me know if it has worked for you. I will let you know how my experiments turn out. :)

I was able to achieve a chewy texture for these cookies by cooking down the apple I blended up to reduce it to almost half the amount and weight. This reduces the amount of liquid in the apple and instead of creating a cake-like texture, which some fruit and veggie purees tend to do in baked goods, it created a chewier texture. I originially learned this from Levowitz's recipe and then saw it again on Tessa's blog in a recipe for Dense and Chewy Pumpkin Cookies. Instead, she cooked down the liquid of pureed pumpkin for dense and yummy cookies! I love the science of baking. :) Thank you David and Tessa for your experiments and lovely recipes!



Peppery Ginger Cookies

Yield: ~14 (1 tablespoon sized) cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes or less
Bake Time: ~12 - 13 minutes
Servings: ~14

Ingredients:
100 grams apple, seeded and chopped (1/2 inch dice) (3/4 cup + 1/8 cup)
75 grams gluten free oat flour (3/4 cup)
25 grams buckwheat flour (see tip below) (3 tablespoons)
20 grams tapioca starch (2 1/2 tablespoons)
1 3/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine Himalayan pink salt
80 grams coconut sugar (1/2 cup)
50 grams coconut oil (4 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon flax meal
3 tablespoons water
           -
extra coconut sugar in which to roll cookies

Instructions:

In a blender, blend the apple until smooth. Add to a frying pan and cook down stirring every few minutes on medium heat until most of the liquid from the apple evaporates and you're left with a denser apple sauce. It will look about half the size it was originally and weigh about 50 grams. The approximate time is about 7 minutes to cook down. Set the dense apple sauce aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the oat flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca, ginger, black pepper, baking powder, and salt until completely combined.

In a blender, add the apple paste, coconut sugar, coconut oil, flax meal and water and blend until completely emulsified and smooth. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a whisk until completely combined. Cover mixture and let set in the refrigerator to set and firm up.

A few minutes before the batter is ready to come out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Take the batter out of the refrigerator and measure the batter into 1 tablespoon amounts. Roll these tablespoon amounts into balls and roll in some coconut sugar. Place the balls on a parchment or a silicon mat lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls with the bottom of a flat bottomed glass that was dipped in sugar so they are about slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 10 - 11 minutes and take out to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Flip the cookies over and bake for another 1 - 2 minutes. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet for a minute and then let them cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy! :)

Tips:

  • I always make my own buckwheat flour from raw buckwheat groats. They blend easily and it's cheaper too! Just weigh out for the buckwheat flour amount in a recipe and whiz them up in a high speed blender on high for 15 seconds. Boom! Instant buckwheat flour. I also do the same thing with my GF oat flour. Whiz up gluten free oats in the blender and you have instant GF oat flour without the price tag. :)
Notes:
  • I really wanted to add molasses to these guys but didn't have any in the house when I made these. However, I made a molasses version later on that were chocolate chip macadamia nut and coconut cookies that were amazing. The molasses gave such a great flavor! If you would like to do a molasses peppery ginger cookie version, use the same recipe above but add add about 15 grams oat flour to the flour mixture and 1 tablespoon molasses to the sugar mixture. Then follow the instructions as is. Then eat up!
Here is the nutritional information for the cookies from CRON-O-Meter. Since these are a treat, they are not the best in nutritional value, but for a cookie, I think they are not all that bad. Plus, they have apple and ginger powder for immune boosting power. I'll take it. :)

Thank you all for stopping by today and I hope you try the recipe. If you do, please let me know how they turned out! They are super duper yumsters and I know you'll love them. :) Take care and have an awesome day! 

Love,

Rawnessa <3

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chipotle Cilantro Dip (Raw and Oil Free!)



Hi all! I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the summer weather! It has been super hot here in Phoenix but with monsoon season coming, I feel as if I can tolerate the heat better and it does not feel as hot. And it has actually rained just a little bit. Well, more like a drizzle! LOL! I can't wait for the actual rain! It hasn't really rained here for so long and coming from living in New York where it rains at least once every week, I miss the rain tremendously. Bring on the rain! :D

Anyhoo, I have another low fat and oil free dip/sauce for you guys! It's super duper simple and super duper tasty! Now, this is a pretty spicy dip; at least for me it is. But, I'm pretty much a wimp in the heat department. :P My mouth was begging me to stop eating it, but my taste buds wanted more of the yummy flavor! My love thought it was super duper yummy though and didn't complain about it being too spicy. However, he can handle more heat than I can. So, I advise you to start with less chipotle powder, about 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up. Although, the chipotle is what gives the dip that smoky flavor that I love, it isn't a raw ingredient since it is smoked red ripe jalapenos but it gives this smoky spiciness that no other ingredient can give.

Smoky flavors are just so yummy to me for some reason in food. There is a tea called lapsang souchong that also gives a smoky flavor to foods because the tea leaves are smoked over pine wood fires. You can brew the tea and add it to recipes for a distinctive smokiness. I have yet to use it, but am curious to use it in a recipe. I also want to buy some smoked salt for culinary use and ever since I first used it in culinary school, I have been longing to use it again. I must grab some!

I used this recipe as a sauce and dip for cucumber wrappers that had some mango and cilantro stuffed inside. It was really fun and challenging to try to actually make the cucumber wrapper and I definitely need more practice. However, it was super darn tasty. Mango, chipotle, and cilantro is such an awesome combination! Yum, Yum, Yum... :D

Gobble gobble gobble...

Chipotle Cilantro Dip

Yield: ~1 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes or less
Servings: ~4

Ingredients:
250 grams 1/2 inch sliced peeled zucchini (1 3/4 cup)
30 grams hemp seeds (3 tablespoons)
18 grams thinly sliced green onions (the green parts) (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped dates
1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (less if you don't like too spicy)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                 -
1/4 cup chopped cilantro 

Instructions:
In a blender, blend the zucchini, hemp seeds, green onions, lemon juice, dates, salt, chipotle, and black pepper until smooth. Add the cilantro and blend lightly just to break up the cilantro leaves so that there are specks throughout the dressing. Enjoy! 



Here is the nutritional information from CRON-O-Meter. What's awesome about this dip is that it is low in fat, high in vitamin C and K, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Woot woot! :P 

Thank you all for stopping by! I hope you all enjoy this recipe and I will be back with some more! Take care and have an oobertastic day! :)

Love,
Rawnessa <3


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